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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2038

B’ Desh Jamaat: Racing Against Time And History

By *Amir Hossain - Syndicate Features

The anti-liberation political party in Bangladesh, Jamaat-e-Islami is passing through the worst time of its history as its top leaders are being punished one after another for committing crimes against humanity during the War of Liberation in 1971 and the rank and file are extremely enervated. The party is seriously confounded and unable to carry on its usual destructive activities. But yet it is making motivated propaganda and is raising baseless allegations with a view to deriving political benefits.

The Jamaat-e-Islami has even appointed lobbyists in the West to carry on motivated campaign against the war crimes trial and also against the Awami League (AL) government. The Jamaat has been spending lavishly to build anti-government opinion in the international arena.

Jamaat’s malevolent campaign is going on unabated and some international media and human rights bodies are helping them in this regard. The latest instance of such connivance is an article written by Jamaat assistant secretary general Barrister Abdur Razzaq, now staying in Britain. The article titled ‘Citizens are also responsible for Bangladesh violence’ was published on Al Jazeera’s news portal. It was also carried by some other media.

Barrister Razzaq, in his article, has directly shifted the responsibility of the crimes committed by the Jamaat and its allies to the innocent people who are the victims of the atrocities unleashed in the name of movement for democracy. During the anarchic movement of the BNP-Jamaat to oust the government, more than one hundred innocent people were burnt to death last year by hurling petrol bombs and torching vehicles carrying passengers including women and children.

Earlier, Jamaat-Shibir had killed or injured a number of cops during a widespread mayhem launched to resist the trial of the war criminals mostly belonging to this anti-liberation party. It is known to all that Jamaat vehemently opposed the liberation of Bangladesh and collaborated wholeheartedly with the Pakistani occupation forces in their barbaric acts of genocide, destruction, looting and raping the women.

Concealing such black records of his party, Barrister Razzaq in his article tried to paint a picture of himself as a concerned, law-abiding citizen who was traumatised by the violence and put the blame for this on the innocent people who are the helpless victims of the crime. He seems to make an attempt to convince the foreigners that the Jamaat is a clean and law abiding organisation and that the some other people are behind the misdeeds attributed to it.

But anyone willing to cross check the controversial background of the Jamaat and its ideology and anti-people role will be able to understand easily that the efforts of Barrister Razzaq are aimed at masquerading himself and his party men as law abiding citizens and the remaining Bangladeshis as wrong-doers. Strangely, he advised the people to be ashamed of the deaths and destruction in the country. The readers in the West who are unaware of the Jamaat’s ugly face and politics of violence may be misled by his propaganda.

It is not that violence and killings have not been taking place in Bangladesh. Investigations have revealed that militants, religious extremists and organisations are behind these incidents.

Barrister Razzaq mentioned about the incidents of violence and forced disappearance in the last year quoting the ‘Odhikar’, a human rights organisation of Bangladesh. But he conveniently forgot the ‘Odhikar’ report of 2013 which blamed BNP-Jamaat for indulging in violence and repression of religious minorities. Besides, they caused deaths and injuries to scores of innocent public to force the government to resign.

A section of analysts said that Jamaat was then trying to create anarchy and instability in the country to push the government to the brink of collapse so that it did not get time and strength to finish the trial of those involved in crimes against humanity in 1971.

Barrister Razzaq wrote, “The degeneration of our society is a root cause. Ours was a healthy society; ours was a caring society. In the not-too-distant past, our people used to follow certain norms in all matters - be they social or political.”

Well, can he deny the responsibility of his party and alliance for causing the ‘degeneration’? Is not it a fact that the political culture of attacking police, hurling petrol bombs at running vehicles and burning innocent men, women and children to death for political gains were introduced in the country by the Jamaat-BNP alliance? One may genuinely ask why the people should be blamed for the misdeeds done by Jamaat and its allies. Is not it political dishonesty?

It is useless to expect political honesty from Jamaat leaders as their politics is based all along on falsehood, treachery and anti-people role. The history of the party is full of such incidents. On the eve of the creation of Pakistan, the then Jamaat-e-Islami led by Maulana Moududi termed the proposed new state as ‘Na-Pakistan’ and opposed it. But after Pakistan was established Moududi and his associates migrated from India to Karachi and ultimately became the self-styled custodian of the religion-based state.

Then, during the Liberation War of Bangladesh, the Jamaat opposed independence and collaborated with the Pakistani occupation troops in their genocide and other atrocities. But after the killing of Bangabandhu, the anti-liberation Jamaat was rehabilitated by the BNP and its two leaders were made ministers also. Now the party is plunged in the worst debacle of its history, but yet trying to survive by shifting the responsibility of its atrocities to the shoulder of the people who are still haunted by the nightmare of Jamaat-BNP mayhem.

When the Jamaat leader writes that “As a nation we all share responsibility in our failure,” it appears that he moves to confess to the guilt. But it should be made clear to all that ‘all’ have no reason to share the ‘responsibility’ of the misdeeds or failure of Jamaat or any other political group.

The role played by Jamaat in Pak army’s genocide and also in the mayhem of 2013 and 2014 is known to all at home and abroad. Yet by dramatizing few incidents, Barrister Razzaq may succeed in befooling some readers in the West, but not the millions of people of Bangladesh who are the victims of the atrocities of this party of war criminals.

Side by side with the trial of the war criminals, steps may be taken through legal process to ban the Jamaat as a political party for its anti-liberation role and crimes against humanity in 1971. If that happens, Jamaat leaders will try to re-emerge in politics under a new name. Preparations to that end are already in progress. But Jamaat is now racing against very hostile time and cruel history. The leaders of the party seem unable or unwilling to read the writing on the wall and realise that they have lost whatever public support they had at home and lobbying and propaganda abroad will not be able to help them make up this loss.

The writer *Amir Hossain, a veteran Bangladesh journalist, is advisory editor, Daily Sun, Dhaka

- Asian Tribune -

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